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This report is taken from PN Review 77, Volume 17 Number 3, January - February 1991.

Alberto Moravia Dilys Frascella
Alberto Moravia, once on the Index of the Roman Catholic Church, boycotted in the thirties as a Jewish writer (he changed his name from Pincherle to Moravia as a result) and pornographic subverter of morals, later a nominee for the Nobel prize, has died at the age of eighty-three. His lying in state in the Rome Town Hall, in a sea of roses, carnations, lilies and orchids, was attended by the President of the Republic, the President of the Senate and leading members of the intellectual and theatre worlds.

His long career, as novelist, essayist, travel writer (particularly on Africa), journalist on the Corriere della Sera, covers half a century of Italian history, from the succès d'estime of his first novel, gli Indifferenti (1929) - written when he was recovering from tuberculosis at the age of twenty-one, and for which he was never paid - to his unchallenged position as leading realist writer of his day, and witty, often mischievous media person and pundit of the left.

The clue to Moravia's immense popular success - his books have sold some eleven million copies - lies in his accessibility; his aim, as a good journalist, has been to communicate directly with the reader in phrases a child could understand. He has progressively stripped down his prose to a deceptive simplicity; he has not felt the temptations of Modernism, allegory and fantasy. A clear Mediterranean light hardens the outlines of his work. He denied being a realist (verista) in ...

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